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FDA Approves Dangerous ‘Ella’ Abortion Drug as Contraception

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) –  The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved Friday afternoon HRA Pharma’s “ella,” a new drug billed as an advanced form of "emergency contraception," for sale and distribution in the United States. However, pro-life advocates have raised the alarm on the drug’s safety and testing, and say ella is little more than a chemical abortion drug similar to RU-486, remarketed to the public as contraception. 

The FDA’s unanimous decision allows the drug to be marketed in the United States as an “occasional” emergency contraception, taken by a woman up to five days after sexual intercourse. The FDA warned, however, that it was unsafe for women to use ella more than occasionally, as they had no data on its safety over the long term. They also warned that women should be ruled out as pregnant before being prescribed ella, and women experiencing lower abdominal pain or who become pregnant after taking ella should be checked by their health care providers for ectopic pregnancy. (see release)

Pro-life leaders, however, were upset with the federal regulatory agency’s decision to approve the drug, pointing out that ella chemically works the same as RU-486. Therefore it not only can cause an abortion, but may also pose a risk to a woman’s health and life, and even have an adverse effect on later pregnancies. 

“The FDA underscored the point that this decision was driven by politics by releasing it late on a Friday when people are not paying attention,” said Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America. “The meager trials done on ella indicate it may cause miscarriages and birth defects. Yet the FDA allowed the HRA Pharma to avoid fully testing the drug so women will be kept in the dark on what kind of serious complications it may cause to her and her baby.”

The chemical name for ella is ulipristal acetate, which functions as a progestin-blocker, or "selective progesterone receptor modulator (SPRM)."

Other forms of emergency contraception work by releasing massive amounts of progesterone into a woman's body, thereby suppressing ovulation, inhibiting sperm migration and reducing sperm capacity for fertilization. This can also have an abortifacient effect if the influx of progesterone changes the lining of the womb, preventing an already conceived embryo from implanting.

But ulipristal acetate works far differently, with far more effective abortifacient results. As a SPRM, it turns off the progesterone receptors in the body crucial not only for the beginning of pregnancy, but its continuance.

Mifeprostone, the drug taken in the two step RU-486 regimen, is also a SPRM, which also has been found to have had thousands of "adverse event reports" related to its use. Since the FDA approved it for sale in 2000, Mifepristone has been tied to 13 confirmed deaths, 9 of which were reported in the U.S. As of May 2006, when the FDA began reporting cases of women suffering from adverse effects of RU-486, 1,070 events were recorded, including six deaths, 9 life-threatening incidents, 232 hospitalizations, 116 blood transfusions, and 88 cases of infection. 

Wright added that the best regulatory defense for women may be trial lawyers: the FDA, she said, appears to hold reproductive drugs to a lower standard than other drugs, and “treats serious complications and even death as preferable to pregnancy.”

“Make no mistake about it, ella is a dangerous abortion drug,” said Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of Students for Life of America, in a statement calling upon the FDA to review and reverse its decision. “The FDA’s approval of ella for sale within the U.S. shows that the FDA has not done its job protecting women, particularly young women whom SFLA serves on a daily basis.” 
Students for Life of America and the “ella Causes Abortions Coalition” released a video Friday afternoon highlighting their concerns with ella’s possible effects and other questions unanswered by HRA Pharma. 

Unfortunately, little data currently exists to answer these questions. Ulipristal acetate was studied by the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), but they admitted they lacked any concrete information as to the effects of the drug on women who do get pregnant. In 29 cases of women who became pregnant while testing ulipristal, 16 chose to have an induced abortion, six miscarried, another six said they were going to carry their babies to term, but they received no information regarding the status of their pregnancies.

But the labeling of ella as an emergency contraceptive, rather than an early abortion-inducing drug, may actually have another financial motive for HRA Pharma: the U.S. federal government may end up its biggest single customer. 

“By misclassifying ella as emergency contraception, this administration has paved the way to covertly allow federal funding for abortion through Medicaid, Title X, and international family planning programs,” said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. Given President Barack Obama’s ideological commitment to abortion, said Smith, it was no surprise.

The congressman urged another Executive Order from President Obama preventing the federal government from funding ella or forcing insurance companies to cover it as an essential benefit. 

“The FDA is supposed to protect people from dangerous drugs and deceptive marking. Instead, today they have proven they are willing to be complicit in this abortion cover-up,” said Smith.

“At a minimum the drug should be classified as an abortion drug.  Women deserve to know that these pills they believe prevent pregnancy could actually kill their unborn child by withholding vital nutrients and effectively starving the child to death.”
 
See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

FDA Readies Public Hearing for Next Generation Abortion Drug
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/jun/10060211.html 

Pro-life blogger concerned after RU-486 abortion Tweeter goes silent 
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/mar/10031208.html

Oregon Planned Parenthood Offers RU-486 Abortion in 'Privacy of Their Home' 
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/feb/10022513.html

Planned Parenthood Implicated in RU-486 Deaths of Four Women 
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08061907.html

Leading Researcher Proves RU-486 Causes Septic Shock Deaths 
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005/jul/05072802.html

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Two Congressmen confirm: National 20-week ban on abortion will come up for a vote shortly

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A bill to end abortion in the United States after 20 weeks will move forward, and it will have the strong support of two leading pro-life Congressmen, the two Republicans told LifeSiteNews.com at the eighth annual Susan B. Anthony List Campaign for Life Summit on Thursday.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ, told LifeSiteNews and the National Catholic Register that ongoing House discussions on H.R. 36, the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," will result in a pro-life bill moving forward.

"Very good language" is being put together, Smith told The Register. He told LifeSiteNews that he fully anticipated being able to support the final bill, because the House Republican caucus "wouldn't have something that would be unsupportable. Our leadership is genuinely pro-life."

In 2013, the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" easily passed through the House of Representatives, only to be stalled by a Democratic-controlled Senate. This year, an identical bill was halted by Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-NC, and other Republicans -- surprising and angering pro-life leaders who thought its passage was assured. That bill, H.R. 36, is now being rewritten so it can be voted on by the full House, though its final wording remains uncertain.

Some fear that the House leadership will modify the bill to mollify Ellmers. She and others objected that the bill allows women to abort a child after 20 weeks in the case of rape – but only if they report that rape to the authorities.

Pro-life activists say removing the reporting requirement would take abortionists at their word that the women whose children they abort claimed to be raped. Congresswoman Ellmers has publicly stated the House leadership is considering such a proposal.

Jill Stanek, who was recently arrested on Capitol Hill as part of a protest to encourage Republicans to pass H.R. 36, said that would be "a loophole big enough for a Mack truck."

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Congressman Smith said the bill will come to the floor shortly. "The commitment to this bill is ironclad; we just have to work out some details," Smith said.

He also noted that, while a vote on the 20-week ban has been delayed for nearly three months, "we did get the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act passed, and that would have been in the queue now, so we just reversed" the order of the two bills.

Congressman Smith spoke to both outlets shortly after participating in a panel at the Summit.

Another speaker was Rep. Steve King, R-IA, who also supports the 20-week ban.

"I can't think of what” language that is actively under consideration could make him rethink his support for the bill, King said. He also told attendees that the nation was moving in a direction of supporting life.

The outspoken Congressman declined to answer further, noting "that's asking me to anticipate an unknown hypothetical."

The annual Campaign for Life Summit and its related gala drew other high-profile speakers, including presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul, potential presidential hopeful Senator Lindsay Graham, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.  

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"Someone who doesn’t flinch at the dismemberment of babies is not going to flinch at the dismemberment of some evangelical baker’s conscience."
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Pro-lifers are winning. So now they’re coming for our cupcakes?

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

As I travel across Canada (and at times the United States) speaking on abortion and various facets of the Culture of Death, one of the things I hear often is a hopelessness, a despair that the West is being flattened by the juggernaut of the Sexual Revolution. There is a feeling among many people that the restriction of religious liberty, the continued legality of abortion, and the redefinition of marriage are inevitable.

This is, of course, one of the most prominent and successful strategies of the Sexual Revolutionaries—create an aura of inevitability while concurrently demonizing all those who oppose their new and mangled “progress” as Neanderthals on the cusp of being left behind by History. That inevitability becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because many people don’t realize that the various battles in the Sexual Revolution actually all correlate to one another—that what we are seeing now is the end game of an incredibly vast and well-planned cultural project.

It is because we miss many of these connections that we often cannot see, with clarity, how the culture wars are actually unfolding. I read with great interest a recent column by Rev. Douglas Wilson, eloquently titled “With stirrups raised to Molech.”

“We are now much occupied with the issues swirling around same sex mirage,” he writes, “but we need to take great care not to get distracted. Why have the homosexual activists gone all in on this issue? Why is their prosecutorial zeal so adamant? We went, in just a matter of months, from ‘let’s let individual states’ decide on this, to federal judges striking down state statutes, followed up hard by official harassment of florists, bakers, and photographers. Why the anger, and why the savage over-reach? And do they really think we couldn’t remember all the things they were assuring us of this time last year?”

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It’s a compelling question, and one that I’ve heard many Christians puzzling over recently. Why do the advocates of the Sexual Revolution despise those who disagree with them so viciously? It is partly because their cultural project does not, as they claim, consist of “living and let live.” It is about compulsory acceptance of any and all sexual behaviors, with tax-payer funding for the rubbers and pills they need to ensure all such behaviors remain sterile, and extermination crews to suction, poison, and dismember any inconvenient fetuses that may come into being as the result of casual coitus.

The ancient mantra “the State has no business in the bedrooms of the nation” has long been abandoned—the emboldened Sexual Revolutionaries now demand that politicians show up at their exhibitionist parades of public indecency, force schools to impose their so-called “morally neutral” view of sexuality on children, and force into silence those who still hold to traditional values.

Rev. Wilson, however, thinks that this loud and vicious war on conscience may be about even more than that. The pro-life cause, he notes, has been very successful in the Unites States. The abortion rate is the lowest it has been since 1973. Hundreds of pro-life laws are passing on the state level. The abortion industry has been successfully stigmatized. True, the successes are, for pro-lifers, often too feeble and not nearly adequate enough in the face of such unrestrained bloodshed. Nevertheless, the momentum has turned against the Sexual Revolutionaries who have championed abortion for decades—their shock and anger at the strength of the pro-life movement evident in pro-abortion signs at rallies that read, “I can’t believe I still have to protest this s**t.”

It is because of the pro-life movement’s success, Wilson muses, that the Sexual Revolutionaries may be coming at us with such fury. “If a nation has slaughtered 50 million infants,” he writes, “they are not going to suddenly get a sense of decency over you and your cupcakes. Now this explains their lack of proportion, and their refusal to acknowledge the rights of florists. Someone who doesn’t flinch at the dismemberment of babies is not going to flinch at the dismemberment of some evangelical baker’s conscience. This reveals their distorted priorities, of course, but it also might be revealing a strategy. Is the homosexual lobby doing this because they are freaking out over their losses on the pro-life front? And are they doing so in a way intended to distract us away from an issue where we are slowly, gradually, inexorably, winning?”

It’s a fascinating perspective. It’s true—and has always been true historically—that when one group of human beings is classified as nonhuman by a society as nonhuman and subsequently butchered, the whole of society is degraded. No nation and no culture can collectively and systematically kill so many human beings without a correlating hardening of the conscience. But on the pro-life front, there has been decades of fierce resistance, hundreds of incremental victories, and a renewed energy among the upcoming generation of activists. For the Sexual Revolutionaries who thought the battle was over when Roe v. Wade was announced in 1973, this must be a bitter pill to swallow indeed.

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Lisa Bourne

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‘Prominent’ Catholics attacking Archbishop Cordileone are big donors to Pelosi and pro-abort Democrats

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

Note: To sign a petition supporting Archbishop Cordileone, click here

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Big donors to the Democrat Party and pro-abortion Nancy Pelosi are among those publicly harassing San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for protecting Catholic identity in the area’s Catholic high schools.

A big-ticket full-page ad ran April 16 in the San Francisco Chronicle attacking the archbishop and calling Pope Francis to oust him for his efforts to reinforce Catholic principles in the schools.

A number of prominent San Francisco-area residents identifying as Catholic are signatories of the ad, and several are wealthy donors to Democrat entities and pro-abortion politicians, Catholic Vote reports.

Federal Election Commission records indicate Charles Geschke, Adobe Systems chairman and previous head of the Board of Trustees at the University of San Francisco, gave more than $240,000 to Democrat groups, as well as $2,300 to Nancy Pelosi and $4,000 to John Kerry, both politicians who claim to be Catholic but support abortion and homosexual “marriage.”

Also on the list is political consultant and businessman Clint Reilly, who gave nearly $60,000 to Democrat organizations, along with $5,000 to Barack Obama, whose administration vehemently promotes abortion and homosexual “marriage” and has continually opposed religious liberty. Reilly gave $4,600 to Pelosi as well.

Another individual in the ad attacking the archbishop who also gave big campaign donations to California pro-abort Democrats was Lou Giraudo, a former city commissioner and business executive who contributed more than $24,000 to Nancy Pelosi, $6,000 to Dianne Feinstein and $4,300 to Barbara Boxer.

Nancy Pelosi herself challenged the archbishop for his stance on Catholic teaching last year when she tried to pressure him out of speaking at the March for Marriage in Washington D.C., claiming the event was “venom masquerading as virtue.”

The archbishop responded in a letter that he was obliged “as a bishop, to proclaim the truth—the whole truth—about the human person and God’s will for our flourishing ... especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife.”

The April 16 ad attacking Archbishop Cordileone was the latest in an ongoing assault since the archbishop took steps in February to strengthen Catholic identity in the schools and clarify for faculty and staff in handbooks and contract language the long-standing expectation that they uphold Church principles. 

It said Archbishop Cordileone has “fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance” and called on Pope Francis to remove him.

“Holy Father, Please Provide Us With a Leader True to Our Values and Your Namesake,” the ad said. “Please Replace Archbishop Cordileone.”

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (CCC), a national association for priests and deacons, condemned Archbishop Cordileone’s harassers in a statement, saying the archbishop “teaches in conformity to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

“The character assassination and uncharitable venom being cast upon a bishop merely defending the doctrines of his religion is appalling and repugnant,” the CCC said. 

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“It is totally inappropriate, improper and unjust for the media and others to vilify and brutally attack him when he is doing precisely what an ordained minister and pastor of souls is obligated to do,” the group stated, “namely, speak the truth in season and out of season.”

Those behind the attack ad said the proposed handbook language was mean-spirited, and that they were “committed Catholics inspired by Vatican II,” who “believe in the traditions of conscience, respect and inclusion upon which our Catholic faith was founded.”

The Archdiocese of San Francisco denounced the ad upon its release, saying it was a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching and the nature of the teacher contract, and a misrepresentation of the spirit of the Archbishop.

“The greatest misrepresentation of all is that the signers presume to speak for “the Catholic Community of San Francisco,” the archdiocese responded. “They do not.”

The CCC pointed out that just as physicians are expected to be faithful to the Hippocratic Oath, bishops, priests, and deacons are expected to be faithful to the Church, its teachings and its authority, “since their objective is the salvation of souls, not a popularity contest.” 

In openly declaring their support for Archbishop Cordileone, the group urged the media and others to show “prudence, civility, and fair-mindedness” toward those with whom they disagree.

“He took an oath to be faithful to the Gospel,” the Confraternity stated of Archbishop Cordileone, “and in the words of the disciples in the New Testament, ‘better to obey God than men.’”

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